FAR Part 101

HAB Guide

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FAR Part 101 Decoded for High Altitude Balloons


Introduction to FAR 101 from “Near Space with BASIC Stamp”

L. Paul Verhage also goes into great detail explaining what you must consider when launching a high altitude balloon in Chapter 14: Federal Aviation Regulation FAR 101[1] of his online book Near Space with the BASIC Stamp[2].


The best summary is to highlight the most relevant passages, seen below.


When everyone follows FAR 101 it maximizes the use of US airspace while limiting the risks.


To promote the safe use of airspace, the FAA wrote Federal Aviation Regulation 101 (FAR 101). FAR 101 is the near space bible. Violating FAR 101 is a serious mistake, but I’m not saying this to scare you. Meeting the requirements of FAR 101 is easy, but you need to follow the requirements consistently.


Plan your launches so the balloon does not ascend or descend through class B, C, or D airspaces. [3]


The local Flight Service Station is the organization to call to file the NOTAM; small airports can give you their phone number. A few days before launch, call and explain to the FSS that you’re planning to launch a HIBAL (high altitude balloon) and would like to file a NOTAM.


Be familiar with the balloon portion of FAR 101 before you file a NOTAM and launch your first near space mission. Focus on the fact that you are launching a weather balloon, just like the National Weather Service does every twelve hours. If asked, be sure to state that you do not need a waiver” [because you do not exceed the limitation of Subpart A 101.1].


As long as you do not exceed the applicability (limitations) covered in subpart A, then subpart D does not apply to your near space exploration program.


The local Flight Service Station is the organization to call to file the NOTAM; small airports can give you their phone number. A few days before launch, call and explain to the FSS that you’re planning to launch a HIBAL (high altitude balloon) and would like to file a NOTAM.


FAR 101 in a Nutshell: A Quick Checklist

In FAR Part 101 Subpart A there are a number of requirements to follow if you want your launch to be “exempt.” That is, if you are “exempt” then you are exempt from needing to satisfy a set of additional requirements for the launch.


If ANY of the following are true then you are NON-EXEMPT and therefore must follow all requirements in FAR 101 Subparts A and D for “Unmanned Free Balloons” (language has been simplified here from Subpart A 101.1)



When you consider how much extra effort is required when you are non-exempt you may quickly change your mind about possibly running a mission as non-exempt.


Complete Annotated Text from FAR 101

See below for the exact text of the CFR that applies to this project. Keep in mind that this project is an unmanned free balloon. If you exceed the 101.1 limitations then you must also operate under the Subpart D requirements. The text is cleaned up from the original with irrelevant large sections removed while small sections are marked with a strikethrough. The official FAR 101 document[4] is kept current on the Electronic Code Of Federal Regulations (eCFR), which is maintained by the U.S. Government Publishing Office. The text below is from January 1, 2018.


[Until I find a good way to do this in Bear then I’m just going to attach the documents. Could use some HTML/CSS like <pre style="font-family: monospace; white-space: pre-wrap;"> but this doesn’t fix hanging indents and the page width is still too narrow or needs to have tab width reduces. Can use RegEx to change strikethrough mark ~~ by searching ^\t*~~ and ~~$ to replace with <s> and </s> respectively but this loses the indentation, which I could fix with fancier RegEx later.]


FAR Part 101 Annotated.pdf

FAR Part 101 Annotated.docx

FAR Part 101 Annotated.pages


Footnotes

[1]: http://nearsys.com/pubs/book/chap14.pdf

[2]: http://nearsys.com/pubs/book/

[3]: But is this actually just if exceeding limitation of 101.1?

[4]: https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?rgn=div5&node=14:2.0.1.3.15


Copyright 2013–2021 Bryan Costanza

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